Following our previously published detailed guide on how to authenticate and legalize documents in Nigeria, this article provides additional information to help you understand what is involved in the attestation of documents in Nigeria. It is very important to note that aspects of the process of attesting documents depends a lot on the specific requirements of the embassy of your destination country.
Before you begin the process of attestation of documents in Nigeria, you need to get all the requisite information and instructions from the embassy of your destination country or from the authority you are submitting the document to in a foreign country (such as a university, citizenship application office, marriage registry, etc.).
For example, depending on the purpose for which you will use the documents, some embassies or authorities insist that you should authenticate the originals of your documents (including academic results, certificates and similar documents) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before you present them for legalization at the embassy or submit them to the appropriate authority. Others do not have this requirement and only need you to authenticate copies (printed or photocopied) of your documents.
For example, if you intend to apply for citizenship, residency, or to get married in countries like Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, etc., it may be required to authenticate or legalize the original of your documents such as birth certificate and marriage certificate as the case may be. If you are travelling for study, countries like Poland, UAE, Czech Republic, Taiwan, etc. insist that you must authenticate and legalize your original degree certificate (the attestation stamps and signatures will have to be on your original results).
Furthermore, while many embassies do not require you to append a Notary Public Seal on the document you wish to legalize (i.e. to notarize the document), others such as the Chinese Embassy and Qatar Embassy require that you must also notarize the document.
It is therefore necessary to inquire from the embassy of the country where you intend to use the documents, or from the foreign authority that you will be submitting a document to, in order to be sure of which copy (original or not) that should be authenticated or legalized, as well as if you need to notarize the document along with the authentication/legalization.
By the way, to eliminate confusion in the meaning and use of these terms, it should be noted that insofar as the apostille of documents in Nigeria is concerned, the term ‘attestation of documents’ has the same meaning as authentication and legalization at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – and are often used interchangeably. Some people also use ‘certification of documents’ in the same context.
To be more exact, however, it is the responsibility of the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and Ministry of Education, for academic results) to attest documents (to certify that such documents are genuine and legitimately issued in Nigeria). Afterwards, if required, it is the embassy of your destination country that will subsequently legalize that authenticated document, that is to endorse it for use in that foreign country.
Sure, all of these terms and processes can be very confusing for most people who need to attest documents in Nigeria. However, if you cannot make it to Abuja (where attestation of documents is performed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and you need reliable agency assistance to help you handle the process, you can save yourself loads of stress by contacting us.
Antarch Consulting is the premier and most trusted provider of Apostille and Document Attestation Services in Nigeria.